Thursday, January 27, 2011

My friend Mike: Part 1

His name was Mike. Michael. Last name started with a "K". And he was my first, albeit most unlikely, best friend in high school.

You only get to have one first, best friend. Just like you only get one first true love (her name was Stacey, and we met at - yes - CHOIR CAMP). Mike and I met sophomore year in a pre-geometry class that I'd opted to take since I'd sucked it HARD at algebra my freshman year and was looking to actually comprehend mathematics (Spoiler alert: It never worked).

Mike was handsome. And tall. My teeth were wired with miles of steel braces, and his cast a confident, even glow. My face was peppered with one thousand dots of acne while his was clear and white. Well, tan in the summertime, because Mike's skin turned a golden brown from the sun, while mine went from "Snow White" to "DEFCON 1" after 30 minutes of exposure. Mike's face was angular and even, and mine looked like Picasso and David Duchovny had pumped out a bastard love child.

As I sat in Mr. Thorn's pre-geometry class the first week, I knew about Mike, had heard stories about what a renegade he was, how even the female seniors at Proviso West High lusted after him, and that he voiced his opinion whenever questioned.

Meanwhile, I'd been crafting myself to be a strident student, a head-down, books-up, "yes sir" and "no ma'am" learner when teachers pointed a finger at my sometimes wandering attentions.

On one magical weekday afternoon, Mike and I became friends. And my life-view completely changed.

I think these photos sum up our relationship, snapped about 6 months upon befriending one another:

I will never forget the first time we actually "hung out" after school: Riding on his bike, me straddling the bar behind him as he pumped the pedals, riding past our high school to his home, my hands thrust above me, feeling a freedom I'd never yet experienced.

And that was only the beginning.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sheesh, the hell I been?

It seems that having an incredibly active creative life is - while a dream come true - exhausting. I currently am juggling:

1. Hosting a running podcast - 3 Non Joggers

2. Editing an audio piece to submit to This American Life on The Western States 100.

3. Helping my dear friend Carl get his documentary off the ground by mid-August.

All three of these projects are coming to a head only within a few weeks of each other, and then I suddenly found myself muttering, "HEY, YOU HAVE A BLOG, DUMBSHIT!"

Okay, it was a yell, not a mutter. But in my head, so that makes it okay. Or does it make me crazy? Don't answer.

So tonight, after pre-interviewing our next podcast guest, I returned home to help Carl with some paperwork for an hour so we can get up and running to raise funds. After, I popped open a beer (Green Lakes Ale by Descheutes Brewing) and something caught my eye.

It was my ukulele.

I sat strumming some Beatles on the sofa, surfing the 'net, and before I packed up L'il Ukey (not an actual nickname), I jokingly tried to make the weirdest sounding chord possible. So I figured out an A 7+5 and strummed, quite literally about to put away Ukophone (not an actual nickname) and then strummed a G chord. And then went back and strummed the first. Then back to G. And then on to adding more chords for another 30 minutes.

Suddenly, I found myself writing a song. Something I have never before done.

It seems creativity breeds more creativity. I logically know this, and have experienced it before, but I've never had so many different pokers in the fire. And it is a little bit magical. Thus, my return to blogging after a month of absence.

Expect to see me 'round these parts more often.